(By Adam Schoeman, aged 10, oldest brother of Nicholas)
You have probably read some of my mom’s blogs from her perspective of Nicholas being her son, but you may have wondered what his siblings think of him and what it’s like for them, with him being their brother. Well, that is the exact reason I am here: to tell you what it’s like having Nicholas as a brother. When I was 5 years old and my parents briefly explained to me what Down syndrome or Trisomy 21 was, I honestly had no clue what they were telling me at all. But now I’m 10 and I think I might know even more than my mom about it. Just so you know, if you want to find out how other children live with their siblings with Down syndrome and other disabilities, buy the book “Views From Our Shoes” by D. Meyer. Anyway, instead of telling you about all the scientific evidence, discovery and whatnot, I am going to tell you what Nicholas means to me and how he is treated just like any other child in my family!
When I first met Nicholas, I thought of him as just like any other baby I had seen. As I got older though, I began to notice how he seemed to be taking a bit more time learning and that he appeared a bit smaller and lighter than expected (at least he will be able to do the limbo easier!). Now Nicholas is 5, and I don’t think of him as anything short of unique. Like any other child, he has his talents and weaknesses, fears and strengths, ups and downs. But life is like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Every time we fall down, we get right back up again. And if a track breaks, we mend it.
If you read my mom’s blog Cupcakes & Scrambled Eggs – A Day of Celebration, Nicholas likes to do things a bit differently. Like, he enjoys having egg with fresh pancakes and cinnamon and likes to make parodies of songs replacing the words with the names of his family members, friends and even teachers! Having a brother with Down syndrome has made my life a little bit different. And I’m not just talking about karaoke competitions and his birthdays! He has a bit of difficulty speaking and sometimes my family does not quite understand him. Every morning Nicholas wakes me up, I help him get dressed, we fetch his (technically my dad’s) iPad and his ABC puzzle, I unlock the passage door and he watches educational videos on YouTube and then he has breakfast. I think I have heard the alphabet song 50 times! Nicholas also goes to a special school which gives him a bit more help. So the school my parents chose was the Talk Shop, a very good remedial school for children who have trouble speaking. In the holidays they hold a holiday clinic that Nicholas, Ryan and I always go to.
By the way, have I mentioned that Nicholas loves dancing? He is like a small battery that never runs out of energy. Some of his dance moves are the bum shake, the robot and jumping in the air shaking his hands. His favourite songs are “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons, “You’re Welcome” from Moana (2017) by Dwayne Johnson, “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Hot Dog” by Mickey Mouse, “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and finally “Hakuna Matata” from the Lion King (1995). Having Nicholas as a brother so far has been like a rollercoaster that goes up, up up, down, up, down, up and so on. Someone is yet to be as energetic and playful as Nicholas and I cannot live without him! He is the best little brother ever and I love him to the edge of the universe (the universe is always expanding so my love will never end!).
Thank you, Adam Schoeman signing out!